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Minutes of the National Convention of Colored Citizens; Held at Buffalo; on the 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th of August, 1843; for the purpose of considering their moral and political condition as American citizens.

1843NY 6.pdf

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6

of death, on the necks of their fellow-men; yes, who rule this nation too, with more than a tyrant's sway, can talk very earnestly in freedom's cause, and plead with their potent eloquence for the rights of men. What was it, a few years since that caused so much excitement in this nation and among the friends of liberty throughout the world, in behalf of the patriotic Greeks? Was it not the fact that they were oppressed and were seeking their freedom? Money, as well as arms and ammunition, were sent out from our own land. And not only these, many of freedom's noblest sons eagerly volunteered their own services, risking their lives and fortunes to the dangerous chances of war with the infidel, tyrant Turks, to secure the liberty and independence of the unconquerable Greeks.

D voted Poland also, in her severe but vain struggle to throw off the Russian yoke, shared in the warmest sympathies and ardent prayers of freedom's votaries. They were expressed in our halls of legislation and literature, and in the temples of God, with all the force and charms with which high-wrought eloquence and soul-stirring poetry could invest-them.

These things ought to encourage us. When we show to this nation and the world that we are properly awake to our own interests, and by wise, persevering, and determined measures, are seeking our rights, we too shall have the sympathy and assistance of the lovers of freedom, wherever freedom's friends are found.

How is it in regard to Irish liberty? Behold how the leaders of each political party seem to vie with each other, which shall be foremost in the cause of Irish repeal, and who can plead most for the liberty of that unhappy people.

These things should encourage use to seek our own liberty and the liberty of our brethren in bonds, by every means in our power; to make know the multitude and insufferable wrongs, imposed on us by arbitrary and oppressive laws, bearing us down to the earth, here in our own native land; enacted, too, by the very people who bid eternal defiance to tyranny, and declare, in the most broad and unrestricted terms, for universal freedom and equal rights, and claim themselves alone the honor of waving, untarnished, the banner of liberty among the nations of the earth.

It is time that we were more awake to our own interests, more united in our efforts, and more efficient in our measures. We must profit by the example of our oppressors. We must act on their principles in resting tyranny. We must adopt their resolutions in favor of liberty. "They have taught us a lesson, in their struggle for independence, that should never be forgotten. They have taught the world emphatically, that a people, united in the cause of liberty, are invincible to those who would enslave them; and that heaven will ever frown on the cause of injustice, and ultimately grant success to those who oppose it." Shall we, then, longer submit in silence to our accumulated wrongs? forbid it, heaven! that we should longer stand in silence, "hugging the delusive phantom of hope," when every gale that sweeps from the South, bears on its wings, to our ears, the dismal sound of slavery's clanking chains, now rivetted on three millions of our brethren, and we ourselves are aliens and outcasts in our native land.

Is the question asked, what we shall do? Shall we petition for our rights? I do not pretend to dictate the course that should be pursued; but I have very little hope in petitioning longer. We have petitioned again and again, and what has been the result? Our humblest prayers have not been permitted a hearing. We could not even state our grievances. Our petitions are disregarded; our supplications slighted, and we spurned from the mercy-seat, insulted, abused, and slandered; and this day finds us in the same unhappy and hopeless condition in which we have been for our whole lives -- no other hope is left us, but in our own exertions, and an "appeal to the God of armies!" From what other source can we expect that help will come? Shall we appeal to the Christian community -- to the church of our own land? What is her position? Behold her gigantic form, with hands upraised to heaven! See her increased and made rich by the toil, and sweat, and blood of slaves! View her arrayed in her pontifical robes, screening the horrid monster, slavery, with her very bosom -- within her most sacred enclosures; that the world may not gaze on its distorted visage, or view its hellish form! Yes, throwing around this accursed system, the very drapery of heaven, to cover this damning sin and give it character and respectability in the eyes of the country, and in the eyes of the world. We cannot, therefore, look to her for help, for she has taken sides against us, and on the side of slavery. Shall we turn to either of the great political parties of the day? What are our prospects there? Is there any hope of help? No, they are but the slaves of slavery, too, contending which shall be most faithful

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